Abraham was promised that his children would become like the stars of the heavens. But first, they would have to descend to Egypt, where they were swallowed alive.

There is a mystery here, a great secret.

It began when G‑d created a monster. He called it darkness.

Then He formed us, creatures of earth, and breathed within us His own breath of life. He charged us, “Go fight with this monster. Destroy it, or it will destroy you.”

But darkness declared itself master of the universe, the default state of all things. It said, “Go ahead, pretend to fight me, until you too sink back into the abyss of meaninglessness upon which all reality is painted.” 

From our very beginning, we have fought. Sometimes we win. We shine a light, and darkness retreats back into its cave. Yet we turn our backs for a moment, and darkness has returned.

Sometimes we lose. Sometimes the monster swallows us alive. As Egypt swallowed the Children of Israel

Yet the divine breath never leaves us, even within the monster’s bowels. And so, being swallowed alive turns out to be our most potent strategy, the only one, indeed, that wins.

Because it is only from within that truth can emerge. It is only when you get under the skin of your enemy, learn to think as your enemy, to feel what it is to be this enemy, that you can redirect this enemy's powers. So too, only from within the monster of darkness can its secret be made known.

That is why you must not fear when darkness overtakes you; you must not be dismayed when it claims victory. For it is all with purpose, a glorious purpose.

Wise Solomon said, “One man shall rule over another—for his own demise.” The Zohar explains: When the power of darkness rules over us, it is defeating itself. 

As Ancient Egypt defeated itself to become a story of the Torah. As did each dark empire that devoured us come to learn from us, to emulate our ways, and to carry human progress one step closer to its fulfilment at the end of days, when all will become light, wisdom, and peace.

That is the entire point of the exercise, to bring about a wonder that could only happen through our agency and through this struggle of ours:

That eventually we will unveil darkness and discover its true identity. We will no longer call it evil, but divine mystery. The shadow of a G‑d who is the true background of all things, who just is because He is.

For in truth, there is nothing else but Him.

Torat Chaim, Hanachash Haya Arum.